IT WAS OVER WHEN... WR Santana Moss fumbled at the Washington 43 yard line after receiving a perfect 11-yard pass from QB Robert Griffin III with about 40 seconds to play. The killer play, though, was moments before when Giants WR Victor Cruz beat CB Josh Wilson and FS Madieu Williams for a 76-yard TD pass. Head Coach MIke Shanahan appeared to be livid with rage after the game talking about the Redskins secondary allowing Cruz to beat the double team on that play.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING... The putrid Redskins passing defense allowed the Giants to convert 8 of 12 on third downs. The Skins came into the game allowing opponents to covert on 41 percent of third down plays, 21st in the NFL. That percentage and ranking will get worse after today... The Redskins rushed for 248 yards today, the 13th straight game the team has rushed for at least 100 yards... The Redskins had a +9 turnoever ratio coming into the game [14 takeaways against 5 giveaways], but lost the turnover battle 4-2, something they cannot afford to do on the road against the veteran-laden, battle-tested Super Bowl defending champs.
I LIKED THAT... RG3 bounced back from an interception and fumble in the second half to lead the Redskins 76 yards down the field for a go-ahead touchdown, capping the drive with a beautiful 30-yard scoring pass to WR Santana Moss. The kid showed real moxie and guts... The Washington offense, which was last in the league in converting third downs to weeks ago, continues to make progress. After converting a majority of third downs last week, the Redskins were 6 fo 13 on third down today and 3 of 3 on fourth down. Any offense will take 9-16 conversions on third and fourth down... TE Logan Paulsen stepped up big in the absence of Fred Davis, who will not be seen until next year at the earliest. Paulsen led all Redskins with 76 receiving yards today [4 catches] and his 19 yards per reception is superb... The Redskins continue to run the ball as well as anyone in the NFL, racking up 248 yards on the ground and averaging 6.5 yards per rush. Alfred Morris led all rushers with 120 yards 5.5 yards per carry], but RG3 added 89 yards on 9 carries [9.9 ypr]. Even FB Darrel Young got into the act, getting 26 yards on the ground and averaging just over 5 yards per carry... Washington continues to play the rush well, allowing a Giants team that has produced hugely on the ground the last two weeks, to only 64 rushing yards and 3.4 yards per carry.
I DID NOT LIKE THAT... The Redskins lost their leading receiver, TE Fred Davis, for the season with a torn Achilles Tendon. It was good to see Logan Paulsen play well in place of Davis, but the loss of Davis is definitely going to be a problem for the offense, particularly with WR Pierre Garcon still injured and unable to play until further notice... The secondary allowed Giants WR Victor Cruz to get behind CB Josh Wilson and FS Madieu Williams to score on a 76-yard TD pass and run. It's the only thing the defense cannot allow in that situation and they did it almost immediately. Just pitiful... The Redskins secondary didn't covery anyone -- again. I wrote before the season that there would be receivers running open in the defensive backfield all year, but the Washington pass defense is even worse than I thought it would be. It's not likely to improve either because the pass rush is poor and the personnel in the secondary is just as poor. This is what the Redskins are on defense and what the offense will have to overcome all season. The Redskins turned the ball over four times, all in the second half. The two RG3 turnovers were simple mistakes of inexperience -- bad plays, but forgivable. The fumble by Alfred Morris was bad, but worst of all was the fumble by WR Santana Moss with about 40 seconds left in regulation. Moss cannot fumble on that play, he has to be a veteran and secure the football.
AND IT ALL MEANS... The Redskins are now 3-4 and fall back into a familiar place -- the basement of the NFC East, two games behind the New York Giants. They stay on the road next week, heading to Pittsburgh to take on another veteran, battle-tested team loaded with playoff experience. The Redskins need to learn some lessons from this game and apply them to an opponent next week that is very similar to the one that just beat them. If Washington can avoid four tunovers they can beat the Steelers, just as they would have beaten the Giants if they could have avoided all the killing mistake turnovers. The Redskins have a top offense, capable of scoring quickly or grinding up yards on the ground and they have RG3, who is already outplaying elite quarterbacks with Super Bowl championships under their belt. Unfortunately, Washington also has a defense that cannot rush the passer or cover any receivers -- they can't even do simple things like not letting a wideout get behind them while he's facing a double team. It's going to be a struggle all season long for the offense to overcome a defense that looks like it will continue to embarrass itself almost every week. It's a tall order for RG3 and today he wasn't quite up to it. Only seven games into his NFL career, though, and you can see the greatness. Next week he will be call on again to overcome a pitiful pass defense. Let's see if he can do it. It sure is fun to watch him try.